Cures for Winter Blahs: Winter Sow Herbs

| 2/9/2011 4:35:02 PM

DebDeb's family owns a small herb farm and herbal skin care business in Porterfield, Wisconsin. It is there that they play and work with herbs on a daily basis.  Deb is a Master Gardener Volunteer, organizer of a local herb group, and a teaches herb-related and soap-making classes for a local technical college, folk school, and right on the farm. ( 

Most avid herb gardeners spent January eyeing up their seed catalogs and then placing their orders for spring. Does the stretch in between seem unending? Well, it need not be.  There is a wonderful way to quench your thirst for gardening during the winter months as well—try winter sowing! I am going to show you, step by step, how easy it is.

Here are the materials you will need to get started:

• Sharp scissors or a knife
• As many milk cartons as you can muster up
• Your fistful of seed packets that you intended to plant in the spring
• Waterproof maker
• A water source
• Man’s best friend—a roll of duct tape
• A bag of potting soil
• An outdoor location for setting them out

There is plenty of information on the Internet about how to winter sow. One of the best is by Trudi Davidoff. Take your list of seeds to her website and there you will be able to identify if your seeds can be winter sown or if they should be saved for direct sowing or greenhouse starts. DO NOT try to winter sow all your seeds. 

The beauty of this project is that it costs pennies to do and you will be reusing old milk jugs to boot. Roll up your sleeves and get planting.